One-on-One With Tina Thompson
July 12, 2001


Last year, Comets forward Tina Thompson hoisted the WNBA All-Star 2000 trophy as the best in a showcase of the league's best. This was an inkling of things to come, though no one knew it at the time. The third option in Houston's "Big Three" in her first four years, Thompson stepped up this season as the team's leader after Cynthia Cooper's retirement and the injury to Sheryl Swoopes. Thompson is averaging a career-high 22.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game to propel the Comets to second place in the Western Conference. In a year that could have easily been termed "rebuilding," she has Houston primed for a run at its fifth consecutive championship.

WNBA fans have recognized Thompson's star power and voted her as a starter for the 2001 All-Star Game. This will be her third All-Star appearance in as many years as the game has been played. Last year she earned her MVP honors behind 13 points and 11 rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench, while as a starter in 1999, Thompson scored eight points and grabbed five boards.

Thompson heads to Orlando hoping to keep the West undefeated in WNBA All-Star history with a third win. But before she goes sunside, she stopped by for a live chat.

RAJA from at 4:08pm ET
You are having an outstanding season, and congrats on playing in the All-Star game. How does it feel to finally be able to show the b-ball world that you have a complete game?

Tina Thompson at 4:09pm ET
I think the opportunity is great and I think that I'm probably not too fond of the circumstances in having to lose Sheryl for the entire season. But I'm really excited that the team is continuing to do well and have the opportunity. It's a matter of time. I was a rookie and coming onto a team with veterans. It was a matter of waiting my turn. I'm excited and it's a lot of fun.
Beeper at 4:09pm ET
Tina, this year you're finally getting the media recognition that your playing has warranted since the beginning of the WNBA (and probably prior to that as well). What are you going to bring to tonight's game in Portland?

Tina Thompson at 4:10pm ET
I think just the leadership that my team needs. We've lost two in a row so we've been kind of in a small slump. Hopefully I'll bring some energy to the game and we'll get a win. Portland is going to bring a lot of energy to this game. They're at home and I've heard their fans LOVE their team. Hopefully I'll be able to bring the energy we need to overcome them.
Brett from at 4:10pm ET
Do you think that you can be the MVP of the All-Star Game once again?

Tina Thompson at 4:11pm ET
You know, I don't know. I think that anything is possible. It's just kind of how the game goes. All-Star games are so situational. It's how the ball goes around, how it rotates or the style that we're playing. I didn't set out to win the MVP last year. I just wanted to help the West win the game and I guess my stats are what provided me with the MVP. I just want to go in and win and if I get the MVP too, that will be great.
Brett from at 4:12pm ET
What do you usually do before a game?

Tina Thompson at 4:13pm ET
After shootaround I come back to the hotel. I have my pre-game meal and then I take a shower. Then I nap for 45 minutes to an hour. Then I get up and usually it's about time to go to Coach's room for our film session before the game. I get dressed in my uniform and before I leave the room, I definitely have to put on my lipstick. Then I go to Coach's room and then to the game.
toni from at 4:13pm ET
Do you think this is your best season so far?

Tina Thompson at 4:15pm ET
If you look at it, statistically probably yes, but the season is still young so I don't know how I'm going to end up as far as shooting percentages on things like that. So I rate my season in terms of where I end up as far as consistency. I'll look at shooting percentages, rebounds and turnovers and see if they're up. I don't really look at the points I score as much as I do my consistency.
Thaddeus Jaye from at 4:15pm ET
Tina, who do you consider the leaders on the Comets team besides yourself. And is the leadership enough to get you to a fifth championship? I hope so...

Tina Thompson at 4:17pm ET
I think so. I think that this is probably the best TEAM that we've had thus far. I think as far as recognition and talent, it's probably not as high because we've had two of the best players in the world the past four years. But I think the camaraderie and the chemistry on our team is the best yet. I think Janeth is having an awesome season and Coquese has become very comfortable in her role. So I think everyone is giving a great effort and we're coming into our own as a team.
Jim C. from at 4:17pm ET
Do you have any funny stories you can share about Coach Van Chancellor?

Tina Thompson at 4:19pm ET
A lot of our teammates, we wear bandanas to practice, like headbands or things like that. One day Coach Chancellor came in and he had a bandana tied around his head. The funny thing about it was on him, it wasn't stylish at all and he looked like he had been caught in a time warp in the 1960s. He thought that he looked so cool, but he was SO not cool. That's probably one of the funniest moments other than the fact that he has an enormous amount of jokes that he tells on a consistent basis and they're absolutely never funny and he thinks they are. So we're laughing at him but I think he thinks we're laughing with him. So that will be a little embarrassing for him.
Velencia from at 4:19pm ET
Hey Tina! How does it feel to be selected as a All-Star starter once again?

Tina Thompson at 4:20pm ET
I actually think that it's great. Just to get the opportunity to play on the All-Star team in general. So the fact that I've been able to be a starter and play since we've had an All-Star Game, it's great. Just the opportunity to hang out with the girls and play with them, because usually we're going against each other. So we just enjoy the day and hang out.
Daphne from at 4:20pm ET
Which team in the league has been the toughest to challenge this season?

Tina Thompson at 4:22pm ET
I actually don't think there's just one. Everyone plays us so tough. I can't say that we've ever had an easy game. Because we're the defending champs, everyone has such high expectations and when we play them, everyone brings their A game. Two of our losses have been to Sacramento and I guess they play us well, but they're all hard. I can probably say that Cleveland is probably the most physical team we've played these season.
Velencia from at 4:22pm ET
Tina what advice would you give a 9th grader trying out for the jr. varsity team?

Tina Thompson at 4:23pm ET
Practice. If basketball is what you want to do, I would say to devote as much time to it as possible. I totally believe that practice makes perfect. When you're repetitive and working at whatever your goal is, you can't help but get positive results and get better at what you're working at. So I would definitely say practice. And play with boys.

Ash'lea from at 4:24pm ET
What does the team do to get "hyped" up for games?

Tina Thompson at 4:25pm ET
I don't think we have a "hyped" thing. It's our job so we know that at a certain point before the game we have to be ready to play. So I think it's just a matter of timing. Everyone puts on their game face and starts to prepare themselves. Some players are listening to their headphones, others might chat. I just kind of sit there. Everyone has their own thing. There's a certain point before every game when everyone comes together and is ready to play. We just go from there.
Velencia from at 4:25pm ET
Hey Tina! Well what did Coach Chancellor tell the team after losing two straight?

Tina Thompson at 4:26pm ET
Actually, I don't think he even mentioned the fact that we've lost two games in a row. After we lost to Sacramento in the double OT, he came in and said great effort. A couple different things, a missed shot, a rebound was the difference in the game. He said we had great effort and let's prepare for Portland.

Tina Thompson at 4:27pm ET
I would like to thank everyone for listening in and continuing to support the WNBA and our efforts. Support the team in your WNBA city and please watch the All-Star Game! chat archive

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"I think that this is probably the best TEAM that we've had thus far. I think as far as recognition and talent, it's probably not as high because we've had two of the best players in the world the past four years. But I think the camaraderie and the chemistry on our team is the best yet."